Tony nominee Stephen Mo Hanan stars in the circus-inspired reinvention of "The Megile of Itzik Manger," the Drama Desk Award-winning National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene's spring mainstage production at the Baruch Performing Arts Center. Playing Off-Broadway for a four-week limited engagement from April 21 to May 12, the eye-popping purimshpiel carnival musical is directed by Motl Didner, with music direction by Zalmen Mlotek. The opening, sponsored by the Boston Beer Company, is set for Thursday April 25 at 7:30pm.
Last seen on Broadway in a landmark production that starred the famous Burstein family, this daring new production, with sets and costumes by the circus innovator Jenny Romaine, playfully retells the Book of Esther story, using the iconic poetry of the beloved Yiddish poet Itzik Manger as its springboard.
The cast of 13, which includes four on-stage klezmer musicians, features Shane Baker, Jonathan Brody, Stacey Harris, Andrew Keltz, Rebecca Keren, Stav Meishar, Jeremy Rishe, and Hannah D. Scott. The music is by Dov Seltzer, and the book and lyrics are by Shmuel Bunim, Haim Hefer, Itzik Manger and Dov Seltzer.
Members of the press are welcome to fly in on the following dates:
Wednesday April 24 at 2pm & 7:30pm
Thursday April 25 at 2pm & 7:30pm (opening)
Saturday April 27 at 8pm
Sunday April 28 at 2pm & 6pm
Stocked with music, magic, larger-than-life puppets and spine-tingling circus acts, "The Megile of Itzik Manger" masterfully mashes languages, periods, musical idioms and folk myths. The innovative post-modern staging, which is set simultaneously in Biblical Persia and inter-war Poland, spawns a masquerade world of enchantment set in a Jewish big-top. In this modern account of Esther -- both sexy and politically charged -- our heroine writes her way into history by marrying (and standing up to) a hedonistic monarch and using her beauty and popularity to foil an anti-Semitic plot.
The lighting is designed by Natalie Robin, and the choreography is by Merete Muenter. Alex Brouwer is the production stage manager. For the record, Hanan ("Jolson"), made a memorable splash in Folksbiene's praise-flooded Yiddish "Pirates of Penzance."
"The Megile of Itzik Manger" is Yiddish and English, with English and Russian supertitless strategically employed for verbal enjoyment. For tickets, which are $55, visit the Baruch Performing Arts Center box office, or call 866/811-4111, or visit www.nationalyiddishtheatre.org.